SharePoint 2016 Features & Enhancements

What is in the pipeline for On-Premise SharePoint 2016?

Earlier this month Microsoft announced new SharePoint 2016 features and enhancements to a packed house of several thousand attendees at the Ignite conference. With the 2016 on premises version scheduled to be released Q2 2016, some distinct outlines of the finished product are starting to take form.

SharePoint 2016 for IT Professionals Ignite Presentation Cover

Microsoft is Cloud First

As previously declared, Microsoft is pursuing a “Cloud first” strategy, in which Office 365 is regularly updated with new releases, and with on premise deployments catching up every two or three years. Many of the updates to 2016 were already expected, having already been released to cloud customers. On the other hand, on premises version of SharePoint continues to be a distinct product, with unique conditions and challenges, and as such there are some new features to the 2016 release that are uniquely on prem-only features. And there are no actual changes to the Service Application architecture.

Installation Requirements:

* Must use Windows Server 2012R2 or Windows Server 10

* .Net 4.5 (or 4.52 for Windows Server 10) features

* Upgrades only supported from SharePoint 2013 versions

The bulk of the announced updates for 2016 are centered on back-end enhancements. Here’s the rundown…

Authentication is moving away from domain based authentication and towards cloud based identification models. Identity management will be handled over SAML claims by default, normalizing over OAUTH. As this is the standard for O365, this makes transitions to the cloud easier. Former authentication will be supported on a legacy basis.

SMTP encryption would be supported with STARTTLS, and no fallback for non-encrypted SMTP will be officially supported. Although, this could potentially be achieved by using non-default ports.

Boundaries and Limits

* Content DBs can scale into TBs

* 10,000 site collections per content DB

* MaxFile increases to 10GB and removed character restrictions

* Increased List View Threshold beyond 5000

* 2x increase in search scale to 500 million indexed items

Performance Upgrades

Distributed Cache handling has been upgraded, and previous “authentication overload” issues have been resolved. This will result in more scalable and available WFE performance.

Serving of end user files will also be made more efficient by leveraging BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service).

The site and site collection creation process has been greatly sped up by changing the underlying provisioning process. Whereas before this was a lengthy process with complicated provisioning logic and feature activations, the new process essentially performs a SPSite-Copy operation to clone a site from a “master copy”. The bulk of the operation is now only at the database level and is much more efficient.

Traffic management promises to perform with more resiliency. New endpoints have been built on Web Front Ends to establish affinity with load balancers, resulting in more intelligent routing scenarios based on web front end health conditions.

User Profile Service changes

Improvements have been made to reliability and ease of setup of the User Profile Service. FIM will no longer be baked into SharePoint installations, and external FIM service will be offered as an alternative.

Durable Links

Durable Links will be featured so that if an end user renames or changes the location of a document, previous URLs will redirect to the new file location. Built using Cobalt endpoints, a Redirect Manager will track documents based on a docID.